A FOOTBALL club has expressed its frustration after a MRI scanner in its grounds was broken into for the fourth time this year.

The MRI scanner, which stands on the car park at Bishop Auckland Football Club, fell victim to another break-in this week.

It was previously targeted earlier this year and saw thieves steal batteries and diesel from its generator.

An MRI scanner is a large tube that contains powerful magnets and sees the patient lie inside the tube during the scan.

It uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images from inside of the body.

Bishop Auckland Football Club director, Steve Coulthard, said: “The mobile MRI scanner unit owned by Alliance Medical was broken into and items were removed preventing any scanning from taking place.

“It won’t work until its repaired and its parts are replaced so it will be out of action for the distant future.

“The Alliance Medical team has now taken the decision to not return the scanner to Bishop Auckland Football Club after numerous break-ins and thefts of batteries and diesel.

“This means a loss of over £30,000 annual income for the football club which is our main source of income.

“The break-in will have a massive impact on the club and it means we will have to find the £30,000 from somewhere else, whether that be from donations or through club fundraisers.

“I don’t think the people who broke into the MRI scanner realise the inconvenience it has caused for people.

“Patients needing a scan will have to either Darlington or Hartlepool and may not be able to get there.

“The police have been informed and we are hoping the thieves are caught as the items stolen are no use whatsoever to anyone.

“The thieves created damage which will cost £5,000 to put right.”

A spokesperson from Durham Police said officers were called to reports of the theft and criminal damage at the Alliance Medical van based on Stadium Way in Bishop Auckland.

Police officers believe the incident happened sometime overnight between 11pm on Sunday, June 30, and 7am on Monday, July 1.

Officers said the suspects broke the key lock from the trailer and then used an unknown implement to force open the metal doors of the generator inside and then stole batteries and fuel from the premises.

The break-in has resulted from the scanner being moved off site permanently.

Anyone with information in relation to the break-in incident is asked to call 101 quoting reference number 185 of July 1.

Alternatively, witnesses can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.